WASEmag published Ukrainian born photographer Dmytro Gurnicki in March 2018. About a year later, still curious about the developments of his work, we decided to interview him. While the resulting interview took a while on both sides, it’s finally here and we hope it gives readers some insights on how he approaches photography, “non-models” and the creative process.
1. Can you please introduce yourself for our readers?
My name is Dmytro, I was born in Soviet Ukraine, I moved to Poland soon after graduating with a master’s degree in electronics. I started taking nude images 8 years ago – the rest doesn’t count. I work at an advertising agency but not as a photographer.
2. In your life story, as a person and as an artist, are there specific elements that have impacted your creative vision?
My mom. Olympus digital camera. Jan Saudek. www.photosight.ru. Warsaw Academy of Photography. Andrzej Zygmuntowicz. Araki. Egon Schiele. Hasselblad. Hundreds of thousands of photos and images that I watched and continue to watch every day..
3. Speaking strictly about photography, are there one or more photographers you would mention as a source of direct inspiration?
The greatest photographers, everyone knows them 🙂
4. Can you tell us a bit about how your typical session unfolds ? For instance, do you plan everything or do you improvise a lot?
I prefer it when a session surprises me, so I plan the place and time (the models are usually late!) and how it will start, and then – improvisation..
5. Regarding models, how do you choose who you want to work with? When we published some of your work in WASEmag you stated:
« I photograph women as they are – without makeup and without clothes. Mostly. Well, sometimes with make-up. The less the model is “the model”, the happier I am. »
Could you please comment on that?
Everyone can pose for my work. Well, anyone who reviewed my portfolio and is aware of the consequences… There are no rules. It depends on what mood I’m in when someone writes to me. It also depends on the project I’m currently working on.
6. From looking at your pictures, we see a wide variety of physiques and expressions. We are currently going through a worldwide phenomenon where, as a whole, society & businesses are trying to be ‘inclusive’. To photographers, in principle that means an opening for very different aesthetics when it comes to model bodies.
However, it’s also true that this has one meaning for commercial photography (fashion, lifestyle, ads etc) and another for those of us more concerned with the artistic and creative aspects, such as you. How do you see those changes?
I know this phenomenon because of my work in advertisement – again, not as a photographer in this case. But does not affect my choice of models. Curiosity has an effect on this.
Everyone choses their own way… I started with photoshop retouched, more plastic images and got my current search for natural looking, and truthful images.7. We understand your notion of “natural looking” – no photoshop, a lot of analog photography, natural colors, little to no make-up and so on. At the same time, by the poses you chose, by some surreal situations you place people in, by your unusual crops and creative camera angles, we wouldn’t describe your photography as “naturalistic”. How would you define your style?
I could not and would not define my photographs. I think that I am still looking for form and content.
8. Still on this subject — while choosing a model, are you more concerned about their experience, their portfolio, their expression, their willingness to explore their emotions inside your style?
The sum of all those things matters. But intuition is more important, it rarely fails.
9. How do you deal with the model’s emotions or your own emotions during a session? Like fear, shyness, self-awareness, excessive expectations and so on?
I try to learn more about the model during the session. To know her character, her approach to photography in general and to photograph her own being.
10. We are trying to get a better understanding of how different people go about their creative process. Your pictures have a strong feeling to them but your models seem to be relaxed. How do you get there?
Here is a little lifehack – during the shooting I’m making a small break – then the model, waiting for the continuation, sets the most natural way. Then I ask her not to change positions or even look, and treat her like a sculpture while I’m looking for the right angle and the right light to create an image. 🙂
11. How do you feel like right after a session? Do you ever feel like “you missed it” – meaning, you didn’t get it right?
I like when I feel unsatisfied at the end of the session. In the sense that I would like to do a lot, but we do not have more time.
12. To wrap this up … any special wished when if comes to your photography?
I would like to have exhibitions not only in Poland but throughout the world.
Many thanks for your time and patience with our questions!
Readers can see a gallery with Gurnicki’s published images by clicking in the link below.